News

Indigenous tribe in California faces off with a border wall that’s destroying their history

July 10, 2020

 

On Monday June 29, The indigenous Kumeyaay people held a protest at the border wall between California and Mexico. Activists accused President Donald Trump of destroying ancient Native American burial sites while constructing the wall.

The Kumeyaay people are one of the main tribes who have lived in the region for thousands of years.

About 100 community members sang and chanted peacefully to voice their concerns about explosives being used to destroy...

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Jehovah’s Witnesses cancel in-person conventions globally, first time in religion’s history

July 10, 2020

 

For the first time in the history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization, they will be holding their worldwide annual conventions virtually.

Last year, more than 14 million people attended these conventions. In the US alone, Jehovah’s Witnesses typically hold 800 conventions with an attendance of nearly 2 million.

Global attendance spans 240 lands, making it the largest convention organization in...

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Fresno State Sikh Student Association lends hand in time of crisis

July 10, 2020

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered colleges in early March, student organizations like the Sikh Student Association (SSA) at Fresno State had to move their meetings to a virtual format. 

When the new board members were elected, they saw an opportunity to give back to their community in a time of need.

According to data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 17 million people were unemployed in June, and the unemployment rate fell from 13.3 percent in May to 11.1 percent. The...

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Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases.

July 9, 2020

 

Weeks after President Trump demanded that America’s shuttered houses of worship be allowed to reopen, new outbreaks of the coronavirus are surging through churches across the country where services have resumed.

The virus has infiltrated Sunday sermons, meetings of ministers and Christian youth camps in Colorado and Missouri. It has struck churches that reopened cautiously with face masks and social distancing in the pews, as well as some that defied lockdowns and refused to heed new limits on numbers of worshipers.

Pastors and their families have...

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Muslim civil liberties group to represent inmate denied kosher food in Michigan jail

July 9, 2020

 

An Islamic civil liberties and advocacy organization will represent a man who has been denied kosher food in a Michigan jail.

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said in a statement issued Monday that it would appear as legal representative for Brandon Resch, an inmate in the Macomb County Jail, in his lawsuit against the county.

In November 2017, Resch was transferred from Oakland County Jail, where he was receiving a kosher diet. He requested a kosher diet in Macomb and had an interview with its chaplain...

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Supreme Court broadens scope of ministerial exception

July 9, 2020

 

The Supreme Court has ruled that religious school teachers who perform a religious role, even if they are not ordained, and even if religious instruction makes up a small part of their overall responsibilities, are subject to a ministerial exception from civil rights protections afforded to other employees.

The 7-2 ruling on Wednesday (July 8) hands religious institutions a big win after a momentous defeat last  month when the high court ruled that gay and transgender people are protected from workplace discrimination. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and...

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Two COVID-19-ravaged churches take different recovery paths

July 8, 2020

 

The paths of two New York City churches diverged this week — one reopened and one stayed closed. But they have shared a tragic fate, together losing at least 134 members of their mostly Hispanic congregations to the coronavirus.

Saint Bartholomew Roman Catholic Church in Queens, where at least 74 parishioners have died from COVID-19, on Monday hosted its first large-scale in-person services since mid-March: an English-language midday Mass and a Spanish one in the evening. At Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan, with a death toll nearly as high, the...

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As COVID-19 rages at San Quentin, a prison rabbi and activist offer comfort and support

July 8, 2020

 

Kat Morgan led her last Shabbat service inside San Quentin State Prison on March 13. At one point during that service, and her co-leaders divided the congregants into small groups to share things that bring them joy during darker moments.

“These people are experts in resilience,” she said. “They shared gratitude for things like prayer, meditation, and eating a cookie. Some of them said that even waking up is a joy that they’ve made it to see another day. It was profoundly moving, given the context.”

Now, that resilience is being sorely tested, as...

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We have a story to tell: Indigenous scholars, activists speak up amid toppling of Serra statues

July 8, 2020

 

Jessa Calderon initially felt numb watching the Junipero Serra statue topple to the ground as it was yanked from its platform with yellow rope tied around its neck.

Within minutes, she was in tears.

“I began to cry hysterically. It was like a sense of relief,” said Calderon, a descendant of Gabrielino-Tongva and Ventureño Chumash, who witnessed the toppling on June 20 in downtown Los Angeles.

Calderon and other California Native people prayed and left offerings, including medicinal herbs, at a makeshift altar before activists took down...

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Minnesota 'crisis mode chaplains' seek to heal trauma of George Floyd's death

July 7, 2020

 

Kelly Sherman-Conroy felt the anguish on the streets following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, concluding that people were aching for more than food and emergency relief.

So the Lutheran leader and Native American activist posted an appeal on Facebook for "clergy, spiritual leaders and mental health leaders who would like to serve as volunteer chaplains."

More than 100 faith leaders have stepped forward, fanning out at events ranging from State Capitol protests to food distributions to a Juneteenth celebration. They...

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